Sigh. Another postmortem analysis on the death of Gourmet, and it’s a depressing one. Nat Ives writes in Ad Age that the reason the magazine had to go was because Conde Nast chairman S.I. Newhouse is too focused on magazines and not focused enough on cross-branding.
In other words, instead of thoughtful, low-revenue spin-offs like cookbooks and PBS series, the Gourmet name should have been deployed to make people buy lots of stuff. Following Rachel Ray’s lead, they could have come out with a line of crappy pans, a set of knives, grilling tools, pasta machines, et cetera. They could have made all sorts of money off of hugely expensive kitchen equipment baring the Gourmet name. (Maybe Ruth Reichl’s mug on a mug!) And then they could have roped those products to recipes in the magazine–“pulse the English peas with the cream in a Gourmet Food Processor (TM).”
The overarching criticism of Newhouse is that he is too concerned with making beautiful, content-driven magazines that charge high rates for ads–an old model–than with finding other cross-marketing revenue streams.
We’re sure there’s truth to this, but it makes us want to crawl under a rock.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 12, 2009